Published: Sat, November 11, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Musical.ly Acquired By Chinese Startup for $800 Million

Musical.ly Acquired By Chinese Startup for $800 Million

Bytedance is set to acquire Musical.ly, a video sharing app with more than 100 million users worldwide, the companies said on Friday.

Bytedance, best known for its flagship news aggregator platform Toutiao, is one of China's hottest tech start-ups and was valued at over US$20 billion in a funding round earlier this year, Reuters reported in August. Bytedance strike out competitors (rival bidders) involving Kuaishou, the viral video streaming service, the folks said, questioning not to be acknowledged conferring a confidential matter. It also has a sister app, Live.ly, for live-streaming video.

Musical.ly, founded in Shanghai by Louis Yang (楊陸育) and Alex Zhu (朱駿) in 2014, exploded in popularity among USA teens previous year and has since expanded beyond its flagship app for creating and sharing personal music videos. The Musical.ly founders and team will join Bytedance and continue to run the platform.

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But artificial-intelligence technology will certainly come into play.

According to Musical.ly co-founder Alex Zhu, "Bytedance's leading AI technologies and top-notch AI developers can empower us to innovate faster and roll out new user offerings unlike anything users have experienced before". The startup had raised $147 million to date from investors including GGV Capital, GX Capital, Qiming Venture Partners and Susquehanna International Group.

The Beijing-based firm, which recently bought video platform Flipagram and also owns English news app TopBuzz, declined to comment on its current valuation.

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Additionally, Musical.ly will work with Bytedance to develop its presence in new markets including China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia, where Bytedance already has a strong footprint.

News Republic, according to Bytedance's Zhang, will give the company "access to high-quality content from thousands of high-profile media partners around the world, making an exciting step forward in our global expansion strategy". Although financial details were not disclosed, multiple outlets are reporting that Bytedance is paying around $800 million for the buzzy video service.

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